A home daycare provider based in Sandstone, Minn., was charged Friday with child neglect and child endangerment after a toddler wandered off her property and onto Highway 23, where she was almost hit by several cars.
The nearly 2-year-old girl was found at about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday by a witness who picked up the tot on the roadway and placed her in the care of a neighbor who called police.
Pine County deputies eventually traced the girl's disappearance to Building Blocks Child Care on Ash Avenue, where they found 56-year-old Carrie Ann Richardson gardening in her backyard with nine of the ten children in her care.
When a deputy asked Richardson how many children she was supposed to have in her care, she counted nine out loud. When asked if she was missing a little girl with blondish-brown hair, Richardson recounted the kids and remembered she was supposed to have ten. When the deputy asked if she knew where the tenth child was, she said, "No, do you?"
.114 BAC BECAUSE SHE HAD A BAD DAY
According to the charges, Richardson had a .114 BAC while caring for the children last Wednesday. She initially said the odor of alcohol on her breath was from codeine cough syrup, of which she had as many as four tablespoons against the recommended dosage of one to two teaspoons.
After taking her breath test, Richardson admitted to drinking three or four glasses of wine in addition to the cough syrup. When deputies started to search her trash for the wine bottle, Richardson told officers she lied about the wine and admitted to drinking four mixed drinks of Diet Mountain Dew and vodka.
Richardson's husband arrived home from a day of fishing with his son to find deputies in the house. He said he had no idea his wife had been drinking and has never known her to be a heavy drinker.
Richardson told deputies she had been drinking because she was having a bad day.
DAYCARE SHUT DOWN
The daycare is shut down while the investigation continues. The parents of the toddler found on the highway told FOX 9 News she had only been under Richardson's care for about one month.
The child neglect and child endangerment charges are gross misdemeanors, punishable by a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $3,000 fine.
No further charges are expected.
Richardson was charged by summons and is not in custody.